Could These Be the Next Generation of Headphones?
Review: The Weirdest Headphones You’ll Ever Own
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You’ve never worn headphones like these before. That’s because the Human Headphones are “the world’s first true wireless over-ear headphones,” or at least that’s how the company behind them, Human Inc, is advertising them. You can think of them over-ear headphones, just without the headphone, or something similar to AirPods, but instead of being in-ear headphones, they clip on and fit over your ears. Aside from the obvious visual differences, these Human Headphones are a bit more versatile than almost every other pair of headphones. They work with Google Translate and help the wearer translate up to 11 different languages. And when you magnetically clip the two earcups together, you can transform them into a portable Bluetooth speaker. Pretty neat.
The Good: The two things that really stand out with the Human Headphones are 1) the audio quality and 2) the fresh design of the product. They sound better than pretty much any pair of true wireless earbuds – the sound is fuller, more immersive and with considerably punchier bass. Then again, this improvement is sound quality should probably be expected; over-ear headphones naturally have better passive noise-isolation, so there’s less ambient interference, and because there are two speaker drivers in each earbud, the Human Headphones are going to sound way more dynamic.
The design of the Human Humans impresses straight out of the box. From the smooth and ear-shaped design, to the way the two ear cups magnetically snap together, to the innovative way they actually hold onto your ears without ever hurting or being uncomfortable, the Human Headphones are just a delight – to hold, to look at and to wear. Clearing a ton of time was spent making sure these things were designed as immaculately as possible and it shows.
The design of the app is also pristine. I’ve tested a lot of headphones, many of which come with companion apps that, well, you want to get out of them almost immediately after opening. That’s not the case with the Human app. It’s wonderfully sharp and clean, with instructive how-to videos and other helpful insights to help you get the most out of the headphones. They also share similar swipe gestures as many popular over-ear headphones; you can adjust the volumes, switch tracks and go into an ambient sound mode, just by touching the earpads.
The translate feature works pretty well from what I can tell. To access it, you need to open the Human app, select the quick translate feature and it can help you say any simple sentence or question in up to 11 languages, or interpret something in another language back to English. Having only a very basic understanding of Spanish, I had it the Human app translate some very basic sentences from English to Spanish, and vice versa, and it did a pretty quick-and-OK job.
Who It’s For: It’s tough to say who the Human Headphones are exactly for. Technically, they’d be a good option or anybody that’s willing to try a completely new type of headphones and won’t mind getting some strange stares and answering questions like “What are those?” On that note, these should be used wireless headphones first and foremost; the speaker and translate modes feel like nice add-ons that you will probably rarely use.
Watch Out For: It’s not necessarily fair, but the fact that the Human Headphones are so different than everything else out there, whoever is wearing them is going to elicit some stares. When wearing as over-ear headphones there’s some pretty significant audio bleed-through; if you’re listening to music or anything at any volume over 50-percent, there’s a pretty good chance that the people around you will be able to hear exactly what you’re listening to. The app can be glitchy at times; on several occasions, I was forced to restart the app because it wouldn’t allow me to switch back to headphone mode after using the headphones as a Bluetooth speaker. Speaker of using it as Bluetooth speaker, it’s not very good and sounds marginally better than your smartphone’s speaker on full blast.
Alternatives: Since the Human Headphones are a completely new kind of audio product, there really isn’t anything to compare them against. Of course, if you’re just looking for wireless headphones, there are seemingly infinite alternatives in the over-ear and in-ear variety.
Verdict: The worst thing I can say about the Human headphones is that they look strange, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A few years ago when AirPods were just coming out, people thought they looked strange, too, and now they’re everywhere. The bottom line is that the Human Headphones better most every true wireless earbuds on the market, and they fit pretty great (for most people), too. If you can get around the fact that these headphones look a little bit different, then you might be able to justify the $259 price tag that they are going for.
What Others Are Saying:
• “If you’ve been wanting to try a new headphone and hate the thought of going back to the same brands, you definitely should give these headphones a try. I’m not sure if the $399 cost is justified since I personally look for noise-canceling and comfort when it comes to investment in headphones. However, I can see the perks of having a device that is so easily controlled with the tip of your finger.” — Roy Kim, Medium
• “Human Headphones are as crazy as they are cool. If you prefer the quality of over-the-ear headphones, these might be worth checking out.” — Michael Strange, The Gadgeteer
Type: 3 in 1 true wireless design
Frequency Range: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Battery life: Up to 9 hours
Human Inc provided this product for review.
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